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Cybersquatting Increasing

Complaints reach record level

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Complaints of "cybersquatting" where a person sets up a site using a trademarked name and profits by selling the name to the owner reached a record level last year according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Cybersquatter

The U.N. agency based in Geneva, received 2,156 complaints alleging abusive registration trademarks on the Internet representing an 18 percent increase over 2006 and a 48 percent increase over 2005.

"These increases confirm that ‘cybersquatting’ remains a significant issue for rights holders," said Mr. Francis Gurry, WIPO Deputy Director General, who oversees WIPO’s dispute resolution work, noting that a number of developments in the DNS are also cause for concern from the perspective of intellectual property holders, as well as Internet users generally.

The majority of complaints came from pharmaceuticals, banking, and Internet, retail and entertainment industries.  Pharmaceutical makers remained the top filers due to "numerous permutations of protected names registered for web sites offering or linking to online sales of medications and drugs," WIPO said.

WIPO parties settled a quarter of all cases without a panel decision. Of the remainder, 85 percent of the panel decisions ordered the transfer of the domain names in question to the complainant and 15 percent of the complaints were denied, leaving the names in the possession of the registration holder.

Most of the complaints came from the U.S., France and Britain, while respondents were mainly in China, Britain and the U.S.
 

Cybersquatting Increasing
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  • http://www.MoneymakingSites.info Moneymaking Ideas

    The sillyness on behalf of major online businesses is that they’re willing to pursue cybersquaters of varient domain names  for large sums of money and fail to register varient names of their enterprise in the first place!

  • Guest

    Martin, you implied that every case is legitimate. In fact, that is not the situation at all. Many of these cases amount to nothing more than reverse hijacking. I had a case a year and a half ago where I had a generic dictionary word plus another common term used online. The first would could be used for a number of reasons. I had a company that had a narrow tm on the first word that filed against me. I’d have won the case if I had fought it. However, I didn’t have the resources to do so and surrendered the name. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough and they also sued me for legal fees. I had a second case where I have a legitimate corporation dating back to the early 90′s. I have had a domain name for that company since 1997. A top 50 Internet business that was just started a couple of years ago but is now huge came after me for the domain. Fortunately it didn’t go to arbitration but it did cost me over $5k in legal fees to handle. How is this right? I know of a dozen people who have been in similar situations – fortunately none of them were chased for legal fees after the fact.  But none of them were outright tm violations and there was no malicious intent or potential confusion by website visitors.  I am all in favor of defending legitimate interests in trademark domains. However, there has to be lines drawn in order to protect legitimate small businesses from having to spend thousands or tens of thousands defending their rights.

  • Bill Hummel

    If someone is trying to push you down and take your Domain away from you, please remember that a SURNAME always trumps a TRADEMARK.

    I owned HUMMEL.COM for many years.  In 1997 the German company that makes Hummel figurines tried to intimidate me and take away my domain name.  They even got InterNIC to turn of my DNS services during the dispute.  No email, no web page nothing.

    I hired a lawyer and successfully beat back these people.  I won, because my name is Hummel and I was not selling figurines and I was legitimately using Hummel.com  I wasn’t infringing on them or diluting anything.  It wasn’t all that expensive either.  A few well-written letters letting the Germans know that I was not going to roll over, got them to go away.

    Last year I sold Hummel.com and I swore that the original company would NEVER get the domain.  Another firm purchased it from me after I made sure they had a real HUMMEL in their management so that they too would be protected from the Cyber bullies.

     

     

     

     

     

  • http://www.learntostartabusiness.com Jim Montgomery

     This problem arises also in going from jurisdiction to jurisdiction in your corporate name.

    Brown Services, Inc. (www.brownservices.com) may be your official name in Ohio.  Your internet business is designed to get business in other states.

    You suddenly discover that someone has incorporated with the name of Brown Services, Inc. in Wyoming where you have just established a number of customers.

    Who has the right to the name?  The real answer as mentioned in a number of comments is that the entity with the most resources may be the winner not because of right but because of the cost.

     

     

    Jim Montgomery is a business owner, business coach and law firm owner in San Antonio, Texas. He helps people get a home business to get what they want. For detailed information on business systems, visit http://www.howtostartabusinessfromhome.info or email him at jemmktg@mac.com.

     

  • http://www.afreshpath.com Alan

    This whole issue is troubling for me. I have a domain and website that is directly derived from my LLC name. The very idea that some other business could decide that they need my domain name and then go about developing ammunition to try and show that I am somehow infringing on their territory is unfair.

    As one poster has said, companies that want to protect their brand should have the forsight to research and register any domain names they "might" need or want. If someone else registers a domain name that is not a direct theft of trademark, oh well! The business wanting that domain should have only two choices, buy the domain or let it be as is.

  • Guest

    This makes me recall a similar tiff from the 80′s, when British singer Thomas Dolby, popular in that decade, was sued by Dolby Laboratories for infringement.  Tom argued that it was his given name from birth.  He won.  Thanks for the article.

  • http://www.newcarstartpage.com david blackson

    ALL DOMAINS REGISTERED BY ANYONE SHOULD HAVE A VALUE OF ATLEAST 5000.00   NO COMPANY SHOULD BE ABLE TO SUE UNLESS  AN OFFER OF THIS AMMOUNT HAS BEEN OFFERED.  I UNDERSTAND THAT SOME FOLKS WOULD LIKE TO GET A MILLION BUCKS, BUT THE TRUTH IS WE LIVE IN A FREE MARKET WITH FREE THINKING PEOPLE— THAT THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX…. THE USA IS NOT CHINA…. WE ARE ALL JUST TRYING TO MAKE A BUCK… AND IF A COMPANY DOESENT HAVE THE SMARTS TO COLLECT THESE DOMAINS UP BEFORE NOW  (2008) FOR JUST A FEW BUCKS EACH ——O–WELL!!!!  JUST PAY THE FIVE GRAND OR GET OFF THE BUS..   I GUESS WHEN I SELL MY USED CHEVY IN THE PAPER—CHEVY FOR SALE IN DALLAS—- THATS STEALIN—- BULL CRAP –

    • Zaphod

       People like you kind of make me want to puke!  The majority of companies, I’ve got two, out there are small businesses.  Most will try to register a domain name before they open the business.  But YOU SCUMBAGS buy up damn near every short name anyone can think of and expect to RAPE people for it if they need it.

      I think what you do should be ILLEGAL!!!  And every domain name you’ve bought and are squatting on should be taken away from you and put back up for sale at a normal rate.  Now I don’t think small companies that happen to have something a larger company wants should be allowed to be pushed around.  That’s just as much BS and what you do.  

       

      • http://www.blackhawktobaccoshop.com/ David McAllister

        There is no money in stealing domains from small companies. What would be the point?

        As for your complaint about all the small names being gone, so what. There are 200+ ccTLDs. If your name is gone in COM, who cares? Try a different TLD or ccTLD. There are billions of combinations. I could spend thousands of dollars everyday picking up good names in none COM TLDs. Eventually these will be in demand too.

        You need to think outside of the box. COM isn’t all there is in the Internet.

      • http://www.pci-express.info/ Olin Coles

        Do you cry this much out loud when someone buys an extra concert ticket and you wait until the last minute to find you’re without a seat?  Seriously, think about your arguement.

        Domain names aren’t free.  They cost money, which means they are commercial.  Remember that word: com-mer-cial.  It’s derived from commerce.

        So now you want to puke because someone out there wants to make money by spending money?  Are you communist?  You sound like it.  I have twelve domain names, and only five of them are developed at the moment.  This is because I operate two corporations and a web community site, and I don’t have the time to develope everything at once.

        I don’t yet have an online computer hardware, but in a year I will.  In the mean time, I have registered the domain with my own funds.  So go puke, just make sure it’s because you just ate crow. 

  • Guest

    My experience with cyber squatting is that most of them have no intelligence to alter the .com to a .net or something else. Even a simple dash or underscore to seperate the words is usually available. For example, if your company is charbroil grills and charbroilgrills.com is taken then try charbroil-grills.com and I’ll bet it’s available.  I did this with several sites I’ve built and I have to admit, I feel like I outsmarted the cyber squatters. Someone commented before to think outside the box and I agree. One company even emailed me to see if I wanted to buy my name as a domain. If my name was Tom Jones they offered tomjones.com. Again, I bet if I checked tom-jones.com, it’s available. It’s just a tip for you out there. It worked for me. I’m sort of hesitant about submitting this comment because now everyone will know my little trick.

  • http://www.wpgauto.com/ Winnipeg

    It’s an interesting case and point of law when it comes down to jurisdictions here to speak

      It even gets more interesting when the competing jurisdictions are not within the same country / continent / time zones or even culture and language

       As example in point, here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada we had a case where a local furniture operation “Bricks Fine Furniture” which was a family business run by a Mr. Brick for 50 years, being well known as an operation of upper quality product lines, was told by a big box mass merchandiser of home furnishings “The Brick” to cease and desist using the Brick name when selling furniture.

         It turned out that “Bricks Fine Furniture” had a valid longstanding provincial license to the name; “The Brick” had a federal license.  Even the politicians were confused.  What resulted was a long protracted expensive public battle for both.  It was a classic big guy versus little guy conflict.  It may be said that this was a very good source of free advertising for Mr. Brick of the smaller operation.  However his market is more limited, lawyers are expensive, time in a small family operation is limited, and his customer base knew him anyway.  In the end it was settled somehow.  But neither party felt that in the end that it was worth all the effort.

           Imagine if you throw in other jurisdictions such as China, India or Malaysia into the mix.

     

     

     

  • Guest

    There are plenty of cases of corporations trying to steal domains from legitimate domain  holders as well – better known as as reverse hijacking.  These people think that since they are wealthy and powerful with plenty of lawyers on staff they can just take your domain just because they decide they want it.

    Just take a look at these three very recent cases and there are plenty more.

    shoppers.com
    kooks.com
    ace.com

     

     

  • DotCom

    What a bone head. You think you out smarted "cyber squatters"? Eliminating hyphens from domains is Advertising/Marketing 101. By using a domain with the hyphen, you only increase the value of the domain without the hyphen, not to mention increase the traffic.

    You’re a Genius

  • David

    Cybersquatting as a "percentage of all names registered" is is actually "decreasing". Think about the exponential growth in name registrations (three times as many names registered as just a few years ago) and today we have a handful of more disputes. This is like saying "Crime in the city has doubled" when the population on the city has tripled..  On a relative basis, disputes are wayyyy down.

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